NXP and IBM Launch First Practical Test of Road User Charging in the Netherlands Trial Aims to Demonstrate Feasibility of New Technique
IBM and NXP have announced commencement of a pilot to help address the challenge of traffic congestion in the Netherlands. The first practical test of road user charging in the Netherlands aims to demonstrate the feasibility of a new road user charging technique. The new system assigns a fee based on road type, time of day, and the environmental characteristics of the routes driven. This information is displayed to motorists in a clear and easy to understand way.
Erik van Merrienboer, Alderman for Traffic for the city of Eindhoven, demonstrated the system's ease by installing a prototype of the On Board Unit in the first of a number of cars to be driven by employees of IBM and NXP. The trial has been set up in close consultation with the regional government.
Beter Bereikbaar Zuidoost-Brabant (A More Accessible Southeast Brabant), the Eindhoven Regional Partnership Alliance, the Ministry of Traffic and Communication and the Province of North Brabant are subsidizing various projects testing the interface between business and government. The partners are aiming to increase collaboration between companies, governments and educational and research institutions.
Fifty employees at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven are testing the system for six months. Each participant will have an On Board Unit in their vehicle that will register all trips and assign a price for each one. Using a secure website, participants can see what route they have taken, what it cost and whether or not their choice of route has reduced their driving expenses.
During the second phase of the test, drivers will travel outside of rush hours or use a cheaper route on the commute from home to work. A competitive aspect is introduced by rewarding those employees who change their driving habits most effectively. The trial is intended to demonstrate the practical application of the technique and to make employees aware that changing their driving habits will lead to considerable decreases in driving expenses in the future.
The On Board Unit, developed by NXP in collaboration with CPS Europe, contains the NXP ATOP chip. This chip contains a GPS receiver that determines the vehicle's location through wireless communication, with optimal privacy. Using the mobile GPRS network, it continually feeds the car's location to an IBM back-office system running in an IBM cloud computing platform.
The IBM back-office system calculates the exact route driven including distances traveled on each road type and within predefined zones. The system then calculates the cost of the journey using a rules engine borrowed from the Telecommunications industry. IBM has leveraged its worldwide experience in Road User Charging and Smart Traffic Systems in developing the solution which has largely been modeled on the best proven solutions from other industries.
The system can be easily installed. It guarantees that cars only operate based on the kilometre price unit because the chip is continually wirelessly linked to a unique device on the front windshield, which cannot be removed. The system meets all current European standards.
Cities everywhere are battling with stressed transportation networks -- the result of an increase in demand and an inability to build sufficient infrastructure to cope with these challenges. The problem is only getting worse as the number of mega-cites, those with more than five million people - are on the rise.
To counter this challenge, governments around the world are investing in new, smarter transportation systems. These intelligent transportation systems will help cities manage congestion, improve urban environmental conditions and increase economic competitiveness. IBM researchers and consultants have already built smarter traffic and transportation systems in Stockholm, Brisbane, Singapore, Dublin, London and other cities around the world, and the list is growing.
The results of the pilot will be available at the end of this year.